Where did we go right?: university staff experiences and perspectives on student growth at the University of Alabama

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dc.contributor Breaux, Arleene
dc.contributor Holley, Karri
dc.contributor Karr, Charles
dc.contributor Major, Claire
dc.contributor Sharpe, Shane
dc.contributor.advisor Laanan, Frankie S.
dc.contributor.author Newell, Donovan Pierce
dc.date.accessioned 2020-09-30T17:23:48Z
dc.date.available 2020-09-30T17:23:48Z
dc.date.issued 2020
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0003572
dc.identifier.other NewellJr_alatus_0004D_14163
dc.identifier.uri http://ir.ua.edu/handle/123456789/6971
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract The University of Alabama (UA) grew dramatically in student population from 23,878 students in 2006 to 37,100 students in 2015. This growth brought the attention of the national popular press as well as students from states that previously featured few applicants such as California and Illinois. As a result of a gap in the literature on this topic, a qualitative study was developed to learn more about this growth. This study specifically targeted the experiences and perspectives of UA staff. Personal interviews and questionnaires were conducted with 10 individuals who witnessed this student population growth at UA and remain as staff employees. Nine different organizational departments, offices or programs were represented. These interviews were done to help answer this study’s four research questions: 1. How does UA staff describe the reasoning behind the decision to increase, dramatically, UA’s undergraduate population? 2. How do these stakeholders describe the execution of the strategic plan to increase UA’s undergraduate population? 3. How do they describe the events and experiences that constructed their view of the positives and negatives of this growth of UA’s undergraduate student body? 4. How do they describe their experience, perception, and perspective as to why UA was successful in increasing the undergraduate student body? Multiple themes emerged from the data to answer these questions. Among them included the need for UA to grow and mature as a public flagship university. Secondly, anemic population growth within the state of Alabama added to the pressure to recruit students from outside the traditional geographic boundaries. The theme of opportunity to grow UA’s student population was developed, specifically the opportunity to increase revenue, improve student diversity, and improve the quality of students enrolling at UA. The findings revealed both positives themes (improved student diversity, quality of student, etc.) and negative themes (infrastructural tensions, staff forced to improvise solutions, employee turnover) that were then defined and described. Other themes that emerged from the data include intentional institutional investment on the part of UA as well as UA’s exceptional higher education marketing. A unique concept that emerged from the data is Institutional Emotional Maturity (IEM). This concept refers to an organization taking itself and its mission seriously and in so doing enacts change to professionalize the organization. As a result, the implication is made that a college or university can grow if it has the opportunity, ability, and institutional will to do so. Autoenthnography is threaded within this study. At the time of publication, the writer was a member of the UA faculty in the Department of English within UA’s College of Arts and Sciences as well as a doctoral student in in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology within UA’s College of Education.
dc.format.extent 174 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Higher education administration
dc.subject.other Higher education
dc.subject.other Education policy
dc.title Where did we go right?: university staff experiences and perspectives on student growth at the University of Alabama
dc.type thesis
dc.type text
etdms.degree.department University of Alabama. Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology Studies
etdms.degree.discipline Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology Studies
etdms.degree.grantor The University of Alabama
etdms.degree.level doctoral
etdms.degree.name Ed.D.


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